First OSH prosecution under new law: $137,000 fines


The first prosecution taken by WorkSafe New Zealand under our new health and safety law, has huge implications for EMA members, says EMA’s health and safety manager, Craig Garner (pictured).

The just-announced prosecution involved a failed machinery guard leading to the operator losing three fingers and half the fourth finger on one hand.

The employer, Budget Plastics Ltd in Palmerston North, was fined $100,000 (reduced from WorkSafe’s recommended $900,000 because of the company’s ability to pay), and ordered to pay reparation of $37,000 for emotional harm.

Craig says, “Given that WorkSafe’s first prosecution relates to machine guarding and that WorkSafe was seeking a fine of $900,000, it shows how seriously the regulator takes issues relating to non-adherence to the new law. This case sets the direction and scope for others to follow. The case clearly demonstrates the court’s appetite to penalise non-compliant businesses.

“The reason for the fine was the cause was a known issue in the company – a non-functioning machine guard that was not addressed - and tragically a worker’s life will never be the same again as a result.

“And for the business, this significant financial penalty adds to the challenges of getting the business into a position where workers are safe and able to function effectively.

“EMA’s newly formed Health and Safety Department is placing a lot of emphasis on addressing issues like machine guarding reviews. We have engaged certified assessors who can give good advice,” says Craig.

You will be able to read all about the new Health and Safety Department in your free, member-only magazine, BusinessPlus (October 2017 issue).

If you have any questions regarding Health & Safety issues, please feel free to contact us directly.

Russell Drake Consulting Ltd. - Phone (07) 838 0018 or


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